Indrani Dutta

Steel industry says no incentives given to investment

KOLKATA: The Union Finance Minister's announcement on export duty on iron ore has gladdened the steel industry which sees it as the first move by the Government to conserve the scarce national resource. Moosa Raza, President, Indian Steel Alliance, the industry apex body, said that the levy of Rs. 300 a tonne on export of iron ore and concentrates was a welcome first step towards reducing exports to zero level in the next five years.

SAIL Chairman, S. K. Roongta, said the move was timely and would be appropriate if the revenue so generated was utilised for developing infrastructure in and around mineral-bearing areas.

Tata Steel, Managing Director, B. Muthuraman, said export duty on iron ore and chrome would benefit the country in the long term. He felt that restricting the volume of exports could also have been considered.

Import duty exemption for coking coal too, brought cheer for all major producers, many of whom meet the bulk of their requirements through imports. The ISA said this would help maintain the production cost in these inflationary times.

Arcelor Mittal India, CEO, Sanak Misra, told The Hindu that this move would benefit all greenfield projects. He said the company had no reactions to give on the iron ore issue since it was captive sourcing that was critical to its India growth plans.

However, the ISA was critical of the move to halve import duty on defective and seconds steel, saying that this was not conducive to encouraging the use of good quality prime material. SAIL too felt that this was avoidable at a time when people were becoming quality-conscious. Mr. Muthuraman said the budget does not incentivise investments in the private sector.